Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Understanding Islamic Terrorism as a Tactic of Asymmetric Conflict

On Saturday 19 November, I addressed the annual national conference of the Australian Christian Nation Association (ACNA). The Sydney-based organisation works to raise awareness of Australia’s Christian heritage and to preserve the Christian values on which the nation was founded.

Themed ‘Islamic Terrorism and Australia’s Response,’ the conference speakers covered areas including media, prison chaplaincy and policy.

My presentation – Understanding Islamic Terrorism as a Tactic of Asymmetric Conflict – draws heavily on material in my new book – After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016) – in particular, chapters 3 “Hasten to Success” and 7 “Myth-busting the Syrian Crisis.”

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Understanding Islamic Terrorism as a Tactic of Asymmetric Conflict 
By Elizabeth Kendal
Sydney, Australia, 19 November 2016

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and a leading scholar in the global Muslim Brotherhood movement. During an interview on Egyptian television in February 2013, he made a most incredible admission.

Defending Islam’s law mandating death for apostasy, Qaradawi said, “If they [Muslims] had gotten rid of the punishment [usually death] for apostasy, Islam would not exist today.”

His admission confirms what a Coptic missionary working in the Middle East once told me: “If there was ever true religious freedom in the Muslim world, it would not be long before there was barely a Muslim left.”

Islam is so philosophically weak that it can only retain its adherents through terror -- by threatening ‘death for apostasy’ and ‘death for blasphemy’.

Likewise, it is precisely because Islam is militarily weak that it resorts to terrorism. After all, what is a suicide bomber but “a poor man’s smart bomb”?

Of course, it has not always been this way; Islamic armies have not always been weaker than the non-Islamic armies.

For a thousand years – from the 7th to the 17th Century – Islam was militarily strong.

Sultan Mehmed II rides
into Constantinople, 1453.
First it was the Arabs, who conquered the Arabian Pen, the Holy Land, Mesopotamia and Persia, north Africa and Spain. Then it was the Turks, who, after invading Anatolia in the 11th Century, moved into the Balkans, conquering the Slavic holy land of Kosovo in 1389 and Constantinople – the capital of Eastern Christianity – in 1453.

By the time the Turks had arrived at the Gates of Vienna in 1529, the armies of Islam had devoured three quarters of the Old Christian World.

Crusade historian Thomas Madden writes:

“When we think about the Middle Ages, it is easy to view Europe in light of what it became rather than what it was. The colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades are interesting largely because they were an attempt to counter that trend. But in five centuries of crusading, it was only the First Crusade that significantly rolled back the military progress of Islam. It was downhill from there. (. . .)

“By the 15th century, the Crusades were no longer errands of mercy for a distant people but desperate attempts of one of the last remnants of Christendom to survive. Europeans began to ponder the real possibility that Islam would finally achieve its aim of conquering the entire Christian world.

“(. . .) Of course, that is not what happened. But it very nearly did.”

The defeat of the Ottoman Turks at the Gates of Vienna in 1683 is generally regarded as the pivotal moment when, after a millennium of advance, a millennium of success, Islam was finally stopped in its tracks. Subsequently, Islamic military and imperialist power began to fade and crumble beneath the rising industrial, military, scientific, technological, economic and imperial power of energised, post-Reformation Europe.

Islam might have been in retreat and in decline, yet five times a day, day after day, year after year after year, the call to prayer continued to ring out. And while the call to prayer is both a statement of faith and a call to faith, it also holds out ONE promise. Can you pick it?

Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. 
Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. 
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah. 
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah.
Hasten to the Prayer, hasten to the Prayer.
Hasten to success, hasten to success.
Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.
There is none worthy of worship but Allah.

The promise is, come to Islam and you'll come to success – a success that is understood in purely worldly and material terms: prosperity and power.

As Palestinian-American Islamic philosopher Isma’il al-Faruqi explains, “Falah [success] – or positive achievement in space and time of the divine will – is the Islamic counterpart of Christian ‘deliverance’ and ‘redemption’.”

Islam and Christianity are NOT the same! They are, in fact, polar opposites.

Christianity teaches that humanity’s problem is sin, which separates us from God and results in eternal death. The only solution to which is forgiveness, which God provides through Jesus Christ. Through faith, the believer is rescued, saved, delivered – redeemed. Christians then are called to go into all the world and share the Good News of what God has done.

Islam, on the other hand, teaches that humanity’s problem is ignorance, the solution to which is guidance, which Allah provides in the Quran and through the example of Muhammad. Islam rejects the concept of original sin, and maintains that humanity does not need saving.
Rather: those who submit to Allah guidance are promised success.

For a 1000 years, Muslims were able to reach out and take what Allah had promised – success, power and privilege – because they had the military capabilities to do so.

From the 17th Century however, Islam went into retreat and in decline as an energised, post-Reformation Europe literally rode over its head.

For Muslims, this reversal of fortunes has been truly shocking – and indeed, totally unacceptable. The Islamic response has been two-fold:

(1) Islamic resistance. The 18th C, but especially the 19th C and into the early 20th C – was an era of especially bloody Islamic resistance as Muslims preferred to kill rather than accommodate those they believed were beneath them.

(2) Islamic Reformation.  From the mid 18th C Islamic reformers such as al-Wahhab called Muslims to return to traditional, fundamentalist, pure Islam and strict Sharia observance. This, they maintained, was the only way to reverse Islam’s fortunes so that Islam might be successful once again.

Sayyid Qutb (1906 - 1966) 
Naturally, the call for Islamic Reformation grew loader and more urgent after the crushing blow of WWI, the dissolution of Ottoman Empire, the abolition of the Caliphate, and the breakup of the Arab world under Western mandates. In the wake of these and other ‘catastrophes’, Islamic reformers such as Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb called for Islamic Reformation, while stoking the fires of grievance and victimhood and railing against the West’s never ending “international crusaderism.”

And all the while, five times every day, from mosque minarets all around the world, muezzins continued to sound the call: “hasten to success, hasten to success”.

And all the while, across the Middle East, global post war trends such as rapid population growth and rapid urbanisation were converging with economic distress and poor governance to produce mass disaffection – a trend that was picked up by the fundamentalist, reforming clerics in the slums of Tehran, Riyadh, Cairo, Homs etc who posited: “Islam is the Solution.” Eventually, in 1979, mass disaffection converged with Islamic reformation to produce – Islamic Revolution.

A successful Islamic revolution in Iran saw power transferred from the US-allied Shah to fundamentalist Shi’ite clerics. Later the same year, an attempted Islamic revolution in Saudi Arabia, though it failed to overthrow the US-allied House of al-Saud, succeeded in that it empowered fundamentalist Wahhabi, Sunni clerics who now pull the strings in Saudi Arabia, albeit covertly from behind the benign facade of the US-allied House of al-Saud. Islamic reformation had shifted into overdrive – globally.

The result: Islam is back!   
(Reading from After Saturday Comes Sunday, page 59)

“Today, after centuries of decline and decades of weakness, Islam is back, and back with a vengeance.

Chibok girls (Christians) Nigeria.
Kidnapped,  enslaved and Islamized
by Boko Haram. 
“Islamic expansion is back and with it, invasion, conquest and colonization, including predatory migration. Subjugation is back and with it, the repression and persecution of non-Muslims and the inequity and injustice of dhimmitude (subjugation) which includes the demand for jizya (tribute or protection money as mandated in the Qur’an in Sura 9:29). Sharia (Islamic law) is back and with it, barbaric, cruel and inhumane punishments, including death for blasphemers (be they in Pakistan or Paris) along with lashings, amputations, beheadings, crucifixions and burnings—all live-tweeted for our entertainment and edification. By July 2014 the Caliphate was back, and with it, the mass slaughter of men, the enslavement of women and children, ethnic-religious cleansing and even genocide.

“Islam is back, which means the sword is back above the necks not only of Christians but of all who will not yield—all who dare stand in the way of Islam’s success. None of what we are witnessing today is “unprecedented”, none of it!
ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.

“It is sobering to realize however, that the main reason Islam is back in the twenty-first Century is because, having forgotten history, having forgotten the threat of Islam, the West has sided with Islam, aided Islam, funded Islam, armed Islam, appeased Islam, romanticized Islam and protected Islam, all the while failing to confront the philosophical weakness of Islam, a weakness Islam counters through gross human rights abuses such as the cruel subjugation and persecution of unbelievers, denial of freedoms, and penalties such as death for blasphemy and death for apostasy.”


BUT – while Islam is back, it is still as yet militarily weak; not weaker than you and me, but weaker than any national army and any state that isn’t in chaos. And because Islam is military weak, it MUST fight asymmetrically.

Consequently, it is imperative that we understand how asymmetric conflict is prosecuted, not the least because we are integral to it.

ASYMMETRIC CONFLICT

An asymmetric conflict is one fought between unequal forces: one weak, one strong. It might be a case of persecuted, repressed or occupied peoples (weak) taking on their oppressive overlords (strong) in a struggle for liberty. On the other hand, it might be a case of separatists, usurpers or even terrorists (weak) taking on the state (strong) in a grab for power.

Examples of recent asymmetric conflicts include the Vietcong (weak) versus the USA (strong); the Afghan mujahideen (weak) versus the Soviet occupation (strong); Bosnian Islamic-secessionists (weak) versus the State of Yugoslavia (strong); Muslim ethnic-Albanian separatists in Serbia’s Kosovo province (weak) versus the State of Serbia (strong); Muslim militias (weak) versus the State of Ivory Coast (strong); Benghazi Islamic-secessionists (weak) versus the   Libyan regime in Tripoli (strong); the Afghan Taliban (weak) versus NATO (strong).

In all the examples listed above, the weak prevailed against the strong. In fact, it seems to be becoming increasingly difficult in this technological age, for a strong force to prevail against a weaker foe that has perfected the art of asymmetric warfare.

Traditionally, a weaker force would not pick a fight with a stronger force unless it believed it stood a fair chance of winning. That is because traditionally, the only alternative to winning was losing, which usually meant dying.

Today however, there is an alternative to winning or losing. Today, political mileage is up for grabs. Today, militarily weak groups like Hamas achieve their goals precisely by picking a fight they know they cannot win and then making political mileage out of being weak and getting clobbered!

source

Lacking military might, weak forces must rely on Psychological Operations (PSYOPS). 

Psychological Operations can be aimed at convincing the enemy not to fight – i.e. to go home (as the Vietcong did with the US in Vietnam) or convincing the enemy to surrender on its own turf (as Islam is doing in the West today).

Psychological Operations can also be aimed at securing military aid from an even stronger power – a superpower.

You might ask: Why would a strong democracy want to get involved in a conflict far away against a state that is no threat to them? Answer: they don’t – at least not unless there is something to gain from it. Any intervention must serve the superpower’s economic and/or geo-strategic interests; it has been this way since wars began.

However, in today’s world, no democratically elected leader will intervene in a foreign conflict if they fear it might cost them their political life. Consequently, before they can intervene, an elected government must first undertake a massive campaign to saturate the electorate with propaganda, so as to establish that the weak force (often Islamic jihadists) are worthy victims, and the stronger force (often a market competitor) is an evil regime.

What’s more, the development of internet technologies, mobile phones and social networking has made disseminating propaganda easier than ever.  

We are drowning in propaganda.

Two of the most commonly used tactics that weak forces use to generate propaganda and establish narrative are the use of human shields, and the false flag operation.

Human Shields

When a weak force provokes the enemy from behind a line of unarmed civilians, they can be said to be exploiting human shields. The strong force must then decide whether it will withhold fire (so as to protect civilians), or return fire in which case civilian casualties are all but guaranteed. If they return fire, the “massacre” will then be reported, along with sensational (often staged) images, by eager, gullible journalists who accept the narrative unquestioningly in their rush for the exclusive scoop. The media disseminates the propaganda, and then, just as expected, a compassionate society will have an emotional response.

This is precisely why Islamic jihadists establish bases in, and fire rockets from, markets, hospitals, schools and kindergartens, UN posts and safe havens, even from behind pro-democracy rallies.

Jaish al-Islam parade 50 cages of Alawite captives
through the streets of Douma and Eastern Ghouta, Syria (Nov 2015).

False Flags

A “False Flag” operation is one in which the weaker force perpetrates an appalling attack that is then attributed to the enemy. Generally this means acquiring enemy uniforms and then brutally slaughtering disposable civilians while making sure there are plenty of observers, especially reporters who are desperate to be first with exclusive stories and sensational images. The Houla massacre and the sarin gas attack in Ghouta are two examples of False Flag operations in Syria.

German war correspondent Jugen Todenhofer calls it “massacre marketing” – saying (referring to rebel activity in Syria): “It is among the most disgusting things I have witnessed in an armed conflict”.

 Houla Massacre (Syria, May 2012)
Child survivor: the family (all dead) was Sunni and pro-government.
The father was a retired Syrian soldier.
To get into the house, the killers  ('rebels')
-- who 'had big bushy beards and shaved heads'  (i.e. takfiri / Salafi-style) --
claimed (falsely) to be shabiha  (pro-government militia).  

 

Terrorism

Terrorism is a Psychological Operation (PSYOP): a weapon of the weak used to extract concessions from the strong. Though people die in a terror attack, they are not the actually targets of the operation. A terror attack is deemed successful when the public is so terrorized it is able to pressure the government to appease the terrorists so they (presumably) won’t do it again. Of course they always do ‘do it again’ escalating the terror and increasing the demands with each subsequent attack.

Every time we give in to Islamic terrorism, or fall for the PSYOPS of Islamic jihadist and propagandists, we strengthen and advance Islam.  We cannot afford to be doing that, for while Islam might be militarily weak today, there is no guarantee that it will stay that way. 

In Mesopotamia, transnational jihadists – Arabs, Africans, Europeans, Chechens, Uighurs, Turkmen and other Asians – already get around in tanks (including US Abrams Tanks) and have sophisticated automatic weapons. They already have access to US-made TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles; and increasingly to Man-portable air-defense systems (also known as MANPADS or shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles) which can shoot planes out of the sky.

Eventually Islamic powers and their jihadist proxies (including ISIS and al-Qaeda) will be able to conduct crippling cyber-warfare, and will have access long-range missiles, nuclear material and possibly even electro-magnetic pulse weapons.

If the West continues to side with Islam, aide Islam, fund Islam, arm Islam, appease Islam, romanticize Islam and protect Islam, all the while failing to confront the philosophical weakness of Islam – then eventually Islam will no longer be militarily weak and the West will be devoured.

Consequently, it is urgent that we understand exactly what is going on – so we can reject the propaganda, resist the terror, confront the ideology and turn back this battle.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

ISIS takes the war back to Iraq


By Elizabeth Kendal

source map date 10 June 2014
A state of emergency has been declared in Iraq, where the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham/Syria (ISIS) has seized control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul (the capital of Nineveh Province in Northern Iraq) as well as several areas in hotly-contested oil-rich Kirkuk.

WHAT IS ISIS?

The Islamic State in Iraq and Sham/Syria (ISIS) [also known as The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)] is the rebel force presently in control of Syria's Al-Raqqa Province and Iraq's Anbar Province.
See, Raqqa, Syria: Christians in the lion's den.
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 250, 5 March 2014

The group split from al-Qaeda primarily over the issue of cooperating with Iran (i.e. with Shi'ites). For al-Qaeda, despite being Sunni and neo-Salafi, has long cooperated with Iran in theatres as diverse as the Balkans and West Africa. For Iran's  "Axis of Resistance" stretches beyond the Shia Crescent to include Sunni groups such as Hamas, the Government of Sudan and elements of the Muslim Brotherhood. [Hence Morsi's rapprochement with Iran, which triggered Saudi Arabia's support for al-Sisi.] The jihadist ideologues of ISIS regard this cooperation / alliance with Shi'ites as error and a betrayal of the Salafi-jihadist cause. According to ISIS's Abu-Muhammad al-Adnani, "the leaders of al-Qaida have deviated from the correct path [of anti-Shi'ite zeal]. They have divided the ranks of the mujahedin in every place".

The debate actually commenced a decade ago, between Al-Qaeda in Iraq's (AQI's) Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri, over the jihad in Iraq. Zarqawi's penchant for killing Shi'ites was turning the Muslim masses away from al-Qaeda, which in turn created a problem for al-Zawahiri. While US and Iraqi forces killed many AQI jihadis, a remnant recovered to become the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which subsequently expanded into Syria to become the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham/Syria (ISIS) under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As terrorism analyst Yossef Bodansky explains, the issue of contention is whether the Sunni jihadist movement -- being neo-Salafist, and thus inherently anti-Shi'ite -- should "uncompromisingly confront all apostates and Shi'ites, or cooperate with some of them in the expedient pursuit of such higher goals as the establishment of an Islamist Caliphate in the greater Middle East." (Defense & Foreign Affairs, Strategic Policy, issue 4, 2014 - available here, via ISN)

The matter was brought to a head in February, after ISIS jihadists assassinated a leading al-Qaeda figure.

ASSASSINATION

Sometime between late December 2011 and early January 2012, Abu Musab al-Suri -- long regarded as "the most important ideologist of the global jihadi movement" (Bodansky) -- was released from his Syrian prison cell. A leading figure in international jihad, Abu Musab al-Suri had been captured in Quetta by Pakistani Intelligence Services on the night of 31 October 2005. A few weeks later he was handed to the CIA and reportedly transferred to "phantom prison" on Diego Garcia where he was subjected to "intense interrogation". Divulging nothing, al-Suri was fast-tracked for "special rendition" and in March 2006 was "rendered" to Assad's Syria with the expectation that Syrian Intelligence officers would extract something from him.

Assad's release of Abu Musab al-Suri came at the request of Iran, specifically the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp. The plan was that al-Suri would help end the fratricidal in-fighting in Syria by co-opting more jihadis into al-Qaeda's Axis of Resistance-aligned al-Nusra Front which would adopt the al-Suri strategy of attracting and securing local support.
See: Jabhat al-Nusra’s New Syria Strategy
January 2013

[Confused? The fact is, as far as Iran is concerned, nothing and no-one (including Assad) is more important than the strategic objective of maintaining Syria as an integral part of the Axis of Resistance. And remember, Iran had al-Suri released from prison in around Jan 2012, when Assad was under immense pressure and the jihadists were ascendant. Al-Suri's job was to turn the jihadis on the ground away from Sunni Arab but US-Israel-allied Saudi Arabia, towards the Axis of Resistance, in line with Zawahiri.]

Then in late February 2014, ISIS jihadis assassinated Abu Khaled al-Suri, who was Abu Musab al-Suri's closest companion and al-Zawahiri's personal emissary to Syria.  From that moment, Zawahiri's al-Nusra Front and Baghdadi's ISIS parted ways, with al-Nusra continuing its fight in Aleppo, and ISIS seizing control of Raqqa (in Syria) and then Fallujah (in Iraq).

THE KHORASAN PLEDGE

In April 2014, ISIS escalated the ideological/theological dispute by introducing the Khorasan pledge; there would be no reconciliation. Nine prominent al-Qaeda emirs from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iran declared their allegiance to the new emir of the faithful, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi -- the head of ISIS -- in what is being termed as the "Khorasan pledge".
See: The Khorasan Pledge
Yossef Bodansky, April 2014 (via ISN)
ALSO
Khorasan pledge splits al-Qaeda
By Radwan Mortada, for Al-Akhbar,  23 April 2014

The defecting emirs have published a lengthy theological thesis in which they outline their position and urge others to follow suit.

Bodansky explains: "The emirs allude to the al-Qaida affiliates which were guided by Abu Musab al-Suri into secret cooperation with the Quds Forces in order to sustain their jihad. They [the emirs] refused to accept the excuses of al-Qaida leaders that 'the groups did not have any courage to enforce judgements over those who disobey Sharia, under the pretext of avoiding a clash with the people or due to their inability and incapacity, although they enforced in secret more than did out in the open'.

"On the contrary, the nine emirs stressed, the tacit and expedient cooperation with Shi'ite Iran was not limited to the jihadists under duress in Syria but was rather a new trend in the Islamist movement. The most glaring example of the theological corruption of the Islamist-jihadist creed was 'former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who was proven to be an apostate, even for those who had a semblance of comprehension. Or was it an indication of a new kind of jihad?' The emirs emphasize that Morsi's rapprochement with Iran and other apostate states, as well as his refusal to launch jihad against Israel . . . was a conscientious betrayal of the Islamist creed.

"It was, the emirs believed, because of this deviation from the right and righteous path that the Islamists lost power in Egypt."

ISIS is not some little "off-shoot" of al-Qaeda. ISIS is a branch of al-Qaeda that is committed to takfiri orthodoxy; and it has considerable and growing support. [Takfiris are Muslim 'purists' who deem 'lesser' Muslims -- particularly Shi'ites -- to be infidels and apostates.]

Bodansky writes: "The inner-Sunni vicious fighting over takfiri orthodoxy verses cooperation with Quds Forces effectively self-neutralises the Sunni jihadist forces in the greater Aleppo area . . . [Meanwhile] Shi'ite Baghdad is desperately trying to stem the tide. . . Further south, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are increasingly vulnerable to the Shi'ite ascent  . . . The Saudi Ikwhan [Saudi Muslim Brotherhood] is a takfiri creed. . ."

There is little doubt that the split over takfiri orthodoxy is likely to spread to all theatres of jihad.

The split will cause sectarian tensions to skyrocket. It will also cause persecution to escalate as the two jihadi branches seek to prove their Islamic credentials for the purpose of recruiting fighters. Considering ISIS is willing to kill anyone and everyone in defence of 'true Islam', al-Qaeda / al-Nusra may well have to escalate its killing of Christians and burning of churches to compensate for its al-Suri-inspired strategic unwillingness to kill Muslims.

ISIS SEIZES CONTROL OF MOSUL

On Friday 6 June some 3,000 ISIS jihadis in technical vehicles (pickup trucks mounted with machine guns) overran the west bank of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and the capital of Nineveh Province in Northern Iraq.

Stratfor Intelligence reports (10 June): "Resistance seems to have ended quickly, with Iraqi army and police units abandoning their equipment and positions. The militants now control the provincial government headquarters, security bases and the airport, along with equipment that was left behind. They also were able to free as many as 1,500 prisoners [figure could be as high as 3,000] who could swell the group's ranks rapidly or at least add to the current chaos."

On 10 June, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a state of high alert in Iraq and asked parliament to approve a state of emergency.

See: In Iraq, a Militant Group Takes Mosul
Stratfor Global Intelligence, analysis 10 June 2014
ALSO
ISIS booty includes two airports, banks as it takes control of Iraq’s 2nd-largest city
By Mitchell Proothero, Hannah Allam and Mohammed al Dulaimy
McClatchy Foreign Staff,  10 June 2014

According to the BBC, some 150,000 have fled Mosul.  World Watch Monitor (WWM) can confirm that up to a thousand Christian families have fled, for safer areas.

WWM reports: "Local media say militants took 70 female students hostage at the University of Mosul, and took 28 Turkish truck drivers hostage in the city. . . One Mosul citizen reported 'No water, electricity or food in the houses now' and "'t is dangerous to go out as there is random sniper shooting in the city'.

"Several sources in mainly Christian areas have confirmed that militants have entered their villages too. A local Christian reports that ISIS extremists are now in control of a well-known 'Christian' village in Qara Qosh, where the guards ran away. Another Christian declared that ISIS militants also entered the Mar Behnam Monastery.

"Some 200 families, many Christian, are now hosted at the Mar Mattai Monastery and about 50 families an hour are thought to be arriving in Al Qosh, 45km from Mosul, where there is another Monastery. Others have fled as far as Dohuk, 80km from Mosul.

"Several schools in mainly Christian villages also opened their doors. New arrivals are desperate for mattresses and blankets, having left carrying only a plastic bag with a few clothes. Some said they had to leave their cars behind at check points and walk for many hours to safer regions.

" 'When this goes on like this, Mosul soon will be emptied of Christians', said World Watch Monitor's source in Iraq, who will remain unnamed for security. 'This could be the last migration of Christians from Mosul'.

Full Report, see: Up to 1000 Christian families flee Iraq’s second city
World Watch Monitor, 10 June 2014

The Stratfor Intelligence report explains, indirectly, why the situation for Assyrian Christians in Nineveh is so precarious. While restive Sunni Anbar Province fell easily into the lap of anti-Shi'ite ISIS, "Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga have been fairly successful in protecting the core Shiite region and Kurdish territories." Nineveh Province, however, is a mixed Arab-Kurd "fault-line" region; it just happens to also be the ancient homeland of Iraq's indigenous Assyrian Christians. So who will defend it? Can Baghdad and Arbil (Kurdish capital) cooperate to fight ISIS? Or will Arab-Kurd rivalry get in the way? There is a lot at stake, for as Stratfor notes, "Mosul sits at the heart of the oil-centered territorial struggle between Baghdad and Arbil."

ISIS MOVES INTO KIRKUK

On Tuesday 10 June, ISIS seized several areas of hotly-contested, oil-rich Kirkuk, even managing to seize Iraq's biggest (310,000 barrels per day) oil refinery in Baiji. Kirkuk is contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turks.

See: ISIS seizes more towns in northern and central Iraq (with map)
By Bill Roggio and Patrick Megahan, 10 June 2014

By Wednesday 11 June, the ISIS has seized control of Tikrit, taking 80 Turkish citizens hostage. (link includes map and video)

The"stunning collapse" in security has led CNN to question Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ability to hold on to the country.

The war has returned to Iraq.

With the mother of all battles looming, al-Maliki is offering to arm any citizen who volunteers to fight ISIS.

If Christians had any security before, it has certainly all evaporated now.

May God have mercy . . .